By Beth Skarp
If I were to ask you to name just ONE Disney song to start singing right
now, what popular or perhaps not so popular song would you start
singing and possibly dancing to?
song of choice was Let's Go Fly a Kite” from “Mary Poppins”, but
chances are you may or may not have been thinking of “Let It Go” from
makes for a great Disney movie? Is it the story line, the animation,
or the music?
I am beginning to think that perhaps the music is what
makes the movie.
wanted to know which Disney movie holds the title to date for having
the most music associated with it. Without doing an online search, can
you name which movie, a Disney classic, holds this title? I had no idea
until I looked online and discovered the movie was “Alice in
Wonderland”. Now here is a real test of a Disney lover...name a song
from this movie!
you think of an “Alice in Wonderland” song? Chances are, you came up
with “The UnBirthday Song” , “I'm Late” or the opening theme song of
“Alice in Wonderland”. Those were the only songs I could recall when
thinking about the film.
all, thirty two songs were originally composed for “Alice in
Wonderland”, but only twenty songs made the cut for the official movie
soundtrack. Why do you suppose Walt Disney himself went to such great
lengths to compose so many songs of such a wide variety for a single
answer is quite simple actually. When Reverend Charles Dogdson, who
used the pen name of Lewis Carroll (the author we know of for writing
“Alice in Wonderland”) wrote these stories, they were intended to be
read as short little snippets or bed time stories. Carroll had a vivid
imagination and created many characters within his various stories.
Many of the characters that Carroll created did not readily lend
themselves from one story line to the next. Simply stated, there was no
real continuity to Carroll's stories in his books. This posed a bit of
a problem for Walt and his production team, since the works of Carroll
were so unlike other well known author that Walt used as template of
sorts for this earlier movies such as “Snow White."
presented the works of Lewis Carroll to his animators and writers,
sharing his ideas for the possibility of a making a feature film. Using
a bit of musical as well as animated whimsy, the story line was able to
segue from one thought to another without the fear of being too
disjointed or choppy.
Walt had a great pool of musicians from which he could draw for musical
talent. Bob Hilliard & Sammy Fain collaborated on the scores to
two early 1950’s Walt Disney animated features. Fain was the composer
while Hilliard tended to be the lyricist. Another talented composer,
Sammy Cahn, teamed up with Bob Hilliard & Sammy Fain for the music
to "Your Mother and Mine" and "Second Star to the Right." While
these songs were nicely composed and had memorable lyrics, they did not
flow with the story line for “Alice in Wonderland.”
Pan” was in production during the same time “Alice in Wonderland” was
also in production. Not wanting to waste great talent or good music,
the songs of "Your Mother and Mine" and "Second Star to the Right" were
recycled into Peter Pan with more memorable results.
In fact, “Beyond the Laughing Sky” was the song originally suggested for
Alice to sing during the opening scenes of the movie. Instead, the
theme song, or the song we hear Alice singing in the very beginning of
the movies became instead “In a World of My Own."
one reads the twenty songs listed as the official soundtrack for the
movie, it is a little bit easy to wonder if in fact you actually heard
the various musical numbers or not. Some of the songs are a mere jingle
of only a few seconds. The ones you actually remember are catchy tunes
that you remember for the music as well as the sometimes silly words.
film soundtrack was first released on vinyl record back on July 28,
1951. I may be one of the few who actually still has a copy of this
record someplace in our collection. The song titles for the record
included the following titles:
“Alice in Wonderland”--sung by the Jud Conlon Chorus and the Mellomen
“In a World of My Own”--sung by Alice
“I'm Late"—sung by the White Rabbit
“The Sailor's Hornpipe”--sung by the Dodo
“The Caucus Race”--sung by the Dodo and Animals
“How Do You Do”--sung by Tweedledee and Tweedledum
“Shake Hands”--sung by Tweedledee and Tweedledum
“The Walrus and the Carpenter”--sung by Tweedledee and Tweedledum
“Old Father William”--sung by Tweedledee and Tweedledum
“Smoke the Blighter Out”--sung by the Dodo and the White Rabbit
“All in the Golden Afternoon”--sung by The Flowers and Alice
“A-E-I-O-U”--sung by the Caterpillar
“Twas Brillig”--sung by the Cheshire Cat
“The UnBirthday Song”--sung by the Mad Hater, March Hare, and Alice
“Very Good Advice”--sung by Alice
“Painting the Roses Red”--performed by the Playing Cards but sung by the Mellomen and Alice
“Who's Been Painting My Roses Red?” (Reprise)--sung by The Queen of Hearts and the Playing Cards (Mellomen)
“The UnBirthday Song”--sung by the Mad Hatter, March Hare, The Queen of Hearts, and the Playing Cards (Mellomen)
“The Caucus Race” (Reprise)--sung by The Entire Cast minus Alice
“Alice in Wonderland” (Reprise)--sung by the Jud Conlon Chorus and the Mellomen
If you wish to count them, you will find that exactly twenty titles appear on the official listing for the soundtrack.
After doing a bit of research, I did manage to find the listing of the
songs written for the film but not used for one reason or another. For
your enjoyment, here is that listing:
the Laughing Sky”. This was replaced with “In a World of My Own”--sung
by Alice. “Beyond the Laughing Sky” was later turned into “The Second
Star to the Right” and is a featured song in “Peter Pan.”
“Dream Caravan”--sung by The Caterpillar. This song was replaced by
“I'm Odd”--sung by the Cheshire Cat. This song was replaced with “Twas
“Beware the Jabberwock—sung by Stan Freberg, Daws Butler and the
Rhythmaires. Since the character of the Jabberwock was deleted from the
film, the song was deleted as well.
“So They Say”--sung by Alice
“If You'll Believe in Me”--sung by the Lion and the Unicorn which were
“Beautiful Soup”--sung by the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon. This song
was set to the tune of “Blue Danube” and had already been used by the
Walt Disney Company in two cartoons recently released at the time
(Jungle Rhythm and Night). The character and the song was removed from
“Everything Has A Useness—meant for the Caterpillar to sing to Alice
while attempting to explain the usefulness of everything, or in this
case the use of the mushroom.
“Curiosity”--no one seems to know why this song was written or why it
“Speak Roughly To Your Little Boy”--this was from the original works of
Lewis Carroll depicting a grotesque character from one of the stories.
Walt felt the music and the character may be too inappropriate for young
children, including his own daughters Sharon and Diane Disney. Because
of this, both the character and music was deleted
“Will You Join The Dance”
If you were counting, you will notice that an even dozen or 12 songs
were written that were not used for “Alice in Wonderland”. This brought
the total number of songs composed to thirty two.
of biggest criticisms for “Alice in Wonderland” was that it was in
essence a series of short cartoons or story sketches loosely pieced
together. Walt himself felt he had let his audiences down, that this
was a feature that truly had no heart to it. Walt was not a huge fan of
this particular movie, and almost didn't release the film for theaters.
movie goers tended to love the characters and the whimsical music
associated with “Alice in Wonderland”. This fact alone is probably what
has helped keep “Alice in Wonderland” a beloved Disney Classic.